African Union (AU) states adopted a protocol on the ACJHR at a meeting in Equatorial Guinea, at the end of June. The new court will merge the existing African Court on Human and People’s Rights, based in Arusha, Tanzania, with the previously proposed African Court of Justice, which only exists on paper.
While the Arusha court currently handles only civil cases, the ACJHR would also have jurisdiction to prosecute international-scale crimes, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In addition, it will also deal with “transnational crimes” like money laundering, human and drug trafficking, terrorism, and piracy.
Human rights groups are appalled at the decision to grant national leaders immunity before the ACJHR, pointing out that this goes against everything that international criminal courts exist for.